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Upfronts 2012: NBC's Harbert calls for better measurement tools

May 14, 2012 |  1:07 pm

NEW YORK -- NBC Broadcasting Chairman Ted Harbert told advertisers Monday that as more viewers watch programs on platforms other than television, the industry needs to come up with a better measurement system.

NBC Broadcasting Chairman Ted Harbert"The gifts technology gives us also presents several challenges," Harbert said during NBC's presentation of its fall schedule to media buyers at Radio City Music Hall. "If we're going to spend all this money on content, it has to be measured and monetized with a demonstrable return on investment for you folks paying the bills."

Harbert said it is crucial that networks be able to measure viewer behavior "no matter what screen they're in front of." He added that while such information didn't matter a few years ago because the number of people watching TV on computers and phones was minimal, he himself now watches TV on his iPhone. "But I'm drawing the line on my watch," Harbert joked.

NBC, Harbert said, is working on several initiatives to "crack the measurement code because we just can't wait and wait some more for Nielsen to do it."

Harbert also said it is time for advertisers to give a greater value to viewers who watch shows several days or even a week after their broadcast.

"When you consider the fact that over one-third of all prime-time programs have at least 40% of their weekly viewing time shifted, it's time to consider moving to a C7 metric," he said. The phrase C7 refers to viewers who watch shows within seven days of their initial broadcast.

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Photo: Ted Harbert. Credit: NBC.

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